Rockford home damaged by carpenter ants despite years of pest control

4:36 PM, Oct 4, 2010   |    comments
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Rockford, Mich. (WZZM) - A Rockford family is dealing with thousands of dollars worth of damage, after their home was infested with carpenter ants. They are angry because they had been paying a pest control company to treat their home every two months for five years.

This week, the Batdorff family hired a contractor to repair the damage. "So, I won't know how much damage is up there until I pull this whole thing out of there," says Contractor, Bill Deal of BBD Construction. At first, he was told he would be replacing a few rotten boards. But, as he got started, the problem was much worse. "That's when they fell to the ground. Hundreds of them fell to the ground."

The Batdorff's were in the process of selling their home and had recently moved to Alabama. The damaged boards were discovered during an inspection for a potential buyer. "These carpenter ants have probably been there for at least 2 to 3 years."

"I'm completely devastated," says Kerry Batdorff. This week she drove back to Rockford to deal with the problem. "To think that in Michigan, it's not easy to sell your home. We felt fortunate that we did sell it."

The Batdorff's now have to fix the damage."We have to repair the house as quickly as possible, so the sale goes through." The job will cost over $6,000.

Deal finds it hard to believe. For five years, the Batdorff's had a contract for pest control, through Orkin. "So, they paid $673 a year, to have their house treated and this is what they get for the $673 a year."

The contract shows "household ants" as one of the pests covered by Orkin. But, the company says carpenter ants aren't part of the deal. "I said, an ant is an ant," says Deal.

If you look at the fine print, the contract also states the company is not responsible for property damage caused by wood destroying pests. Orkin says carpenter ants require a separate contract. But, Batdorff says there was no mention of that, when she complained about ants in her home, a few years ago.  "And they sent somebody out to spray again, but never said we think this could be carpenter ants."

Martha Craft, Vice President of Corporate Communications for Rollins, the parent company of Orkin says, "When considering a pest control provider, we encourage homeowners to review contracts carefully and ask questions about what is and is not covered".

She goes on to say, "Customers enter into a partnership with their pest control provider and should know that companies like ours offer a standard contract that covers a prevention and treatment program for standard pests."

WZZM 13 News did contact two other major pest control companies who said that carpenter ants are covered under their standard contract.

Orkin has since offered to refund the amount paid for five years of pest control. The Batdorff's aren't sure that's enough. They say the damage is already done.

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